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Karnataka election may be the last where netas can contest from two seats


Politicians tend to contest elections on two seats when they are jittery about a win in one of them. This has been an insurance for politicians to remain in power.

Karnataka election may be the last where netas can contest from two seats

In the Karnataka election, there are several candidates who are contesting on two seats. H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) will be contesting from Channapatana and Ramanagara. There are murmurs that KPCC chief, Dr Parameshwar is asking his party for another seat apart from his constituency at Koratagere from where he had lost in 2013.

Reports of the BJP trying to field B S Yeddyurappa from both Shikaripura and another constituency in north Karnataka are also doing the round. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who is contesting from Chamundeshwari said that he had offers to contest from another constituency in the north. The Congress was mulling fielding him from Badami.

While this has been a routine practise not just in Karnataka, there has been an interesting development in this regard. If the Supreme Court acts on an affidavit filed by the Election Commission of India, then this would be the last time that a candidate would get to contest for two seats.

The EC said that the law is amended to prevent candidates from contesting on multiple seats. This has been used by several political leaders to give themselves an insurance against shock defeats.

In the affidavit, the EC says that Section 33 (7) of the Representation of Peoples' Act needs to be amended so that a candidate is restricted to contesting only from one seat. The affidavit was in response to a petition that sought an amendment to the provision.

The Election Commission said, "when a candidate contests from two seats, it is imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats should he win both. This, apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer and the manpower and other resources for holding byelection against the resultant vacancy, would be an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from."

The commission said in case the present provision is retained then there should be an express provision in the law requiring a person, contesting and winning from two seats, to bear the cost of the byelection after he quits one constituency.

The Election Commission proposed amendment of Section 33(7) in the year 2004 to provide that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency at a time. However, in case the existing provisions are to be retained, a candidate contesting from two seats should bear the cost of the byelection to the seat that contestant decides to vacate in the event of him/her winning both seats. The amount in such an event could be Rs 5 lakh for state assembly and Rs 10 lakh for general election," the EC further said in its affidavit.

Karnataka Assembly Election dates
Date of notification April 17
Last date to file nominations April 24
Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
Date of polling May 12
Date of counting May 15

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